Ioulia Haida: “Marble is the white gold of Greece”

Φώτο: Ικτίνος

The Vice President of Iktinos Hellas talks to Business Daily about the export prospects of the “white gold” of Greece, the pressures caused by the pandemic and the position of women in business administration.

The new landscape created by the pandemic in the marble industry is outlined, speaking to Business Daily, the Vice President of Iktinos Hellas and President of the Marble Association of Macedonia Thrace, Mrs. Ioulia Haida, noting the leading role of the Greek marble industry in Greek exports and predicting that Iktinos will have returned in 2021 to the sizes of 2019.

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As Ms. Haida notes, the country exports 76% of its marble to more than 120 countries, with the two largest economies in the world, the USA and China, having the first role in absorbing Greek exports. Marble is one of the few Greek products, with such a wide acceptance of quality, that it has rightly been given the nickname “the white gold of Greece”, which is why it can not be characterized by the continuous increase of its exports in recent years. As Ms. Haida notes, the country is in 4th place in the world, despite the recession of the Greek economy in the last decade, while the next goals of the industry are to penetrate new markets, such as Mexico and Russia.

According to Ms. Haida, the health crisis and the economic recession that followed, greatly affected the construction activity and therefore the demand for marble, while the restriction of movement and the closure of borders, prevented important meetings with major international customers. The pandemic combined with the deterioration of US-China trade relations has created export problems. Looking at tomorrow, Ms. Haida notes that not only the strong brand name and the unquestionable quality of Greek marble are enough to strengthen its presence in foreign markets, but also new commercial approaches are needed to coincide with technological and social developments.

The vice-president of Iktinos emphasizes that, at company level, for Iktinos Hellas, in the first nine months of 2020, marble exports to many countries around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Mexico, amounted to 95% of turnover, which amounted to 21.87 million euros. The pressure of the pandemic on the company’s turnover is estimated to reduce by 20% – 25% the turnover, compared to 2019, when in the period January – June 2020 the reduction was 31%, notes Haida, and emphasizes that the next goals of the company are markets such as South America and Russia while it “sees” a return to pre-pandemic sizes already in 2021.